Romell Nellis (pictured), 40, was arrested on January 8 for allegedly robbing two banks on separate days in December
A suspected two-time bank robber who has been dubbed a ‘menace to society’ has been freed under New York’s controversial new bail reforms.
The release of Romell Nellis and others over the last few weeks has frustrated officials in the Big Apple, including Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder.
Ryder appeared on Fox & Friends on Thursday and said: ‘This guy, Romell Nellis, should have stayed in jail, he should not be out.’
The commissioner said ‘everybody is frustrated’ at New York, which recently joined California and New Jersey in prohibiting cash bails for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
‘You can’t make sense of it, it doesn’t make sense,’ Ryder.
‘Bail reform was meant to be fair for all, not to take away discretion from judges looking at criminal history.’
Nellis, 40, was arrested on January 8 for allegedly robbing two banks on separate days in December.
When Nellis appeared before Nassau County District Judge David McAndrews (pictured) he was ordered to be held on $10,000 cash. But a higher-level judge reversed McAndrews’ order and released Nellis with an ankle monitor
He reportedly handed bank tellers notes that said: ‘I have a gun!’ Another note demanded ‘$100s, 50s & 20s’.
According to the New York Post, Nellis, a homeless ex-con, stole nearly $9,500 from the December 17 West Hempstead incident and the December 30 Valley Stream incident.
NEW YORK’S BAIL REFORMS: THE FACTS
On January 1 2020, New York State introduced sweeping criminal justice legislation, meaning that cash bail is no longer permitted for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, including robbery.
Judges are now required to release individuals charged with such crimes with no cash bail.
The controversial new New York ‘no-bail law’ is expected to curtail the use of cash bail and pretrial detention in an estimated 90 per cent of arrests and strengthen measures intended to ensure a defendant’s right to a speedy trial.
New York’s decision to reform its law saw the state join ranks with California and New Jersey – which already prohibit cash bails for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies.
The ‘no-bail’ law has been mired in controversy since it was enshrined into state legislation.
Nellis, who in the past served a seven-year-prison sentence for a 2012 crack-trafficking case, was due in court on December 16, when he was supposed to be sentenced for violating his supervised release.
But his lawyer managed to get the sentencing postponed until March 24 because Nellis was ‘scheduled to enter into an in-patient drug-treatment program’.
However, Nellis allegedly robbed the two banks and by the time he was arrested on January 8, the new bail reform law had already gone into effect.
When Nellis appeared before Nassau County District Judge David McAndrews he was ordered to be held on $10,000 cash or $20,000 bond.
But McAndrews’ decision was short-lived and a higher-level judge reversed his order and released Nellis with an ankle monitor, according to the Post.
Nellis later cut off the ankle monitor.
And Nellis isn’t the only felon who has been released due to the new bail reforms.
Gerod Woodberry, 42, carried out four robberies across New York before being arrested and brought before a judge on January 9 who then had no choice but to release him under the city’s no-bail law reform.
Hours after his release, the suspect went on to rack up two more bank robberies before turning himself in to police. Woodberry was finally detained by a federal judge.
Just two weeks after the bail reforms went into effect, New York police shared a shocking video that showed a Bronx man violently assaulting his girlfriend at their job before he was eventually released.
The Harriman Village Police department said that 20-year-old Jay Vasquez-Paulino attacked the woman he had been dating for about a month.
The suspect is pictured above entering the Chase Bank at 20 Flatbush Avenue, Downtown Brooklyn on 10 January before he carried out what is believed to be robbery number five
The assault took place at the Superior Packing company in Harriman, where the duo had been employed.
Vasquez-Paulino was charged with misdemeanors for the assault, but the new bail reforms under Governor Andrew Cuomo required police to release him with an appearance ticket.
In another case, a suspected drunk driver who was arrested over a fatal crash that killed a recent graduate was released without bail despite a lengthy criminal history.
Jordan Randolph, 40, was charged with Felony DWI after the incident in Long Island, New York.
The Harriman Village Police department said that 20-year-old Jay Vasquez-Paulino attacked the woman he had been dating for about a month on Tuesday at the Superior Packing company
Jonathan Flores-Maldonado, 27, died after his 2015 Ford was hit by Randolph’s 2014 Cadillac on a parkway in Brookhaven, authorities say.
Randolph ‘attempted to flee the scene on foot’, but ‘after taking a few steps, (he) fell to the ground where he was placed into custody’, court documents show.
He has 12 previous criminal convictions, including three DWIs since 2011, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office.
Randolph was also said to have been busted for not having a court-ordered breathalyzer in his vehicle and later released.
But the judge was forced to release Randolph under the bail reform laws.
Jordan Randolph, 40, pictured after his arrest, was charged with Felony DWI after the incident in the early hours of Sunday morning in Long Island, New York